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Odisha government builds AC queue corridor for Puri Jagannath devotees

Author: Debabrata Mohapatra, TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 31, 2023
URL:   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-government-builds-ac-queue-corridor-for-puri-jagannath-devotees/articleshow/106425038.cms

The New Year will see the introduction of an air-conditioned queue system for devotees waiting to enter the Puri Jagannath Temple in Puri. Trial run of the new system was conducted by Puri police on Sunday.

An 85-metre shaded pathway with ACs, fan, CCTVs and seating facilities has been built from Marchikot chowk to the temple office on the Grand Road for devotees.

The pathway has 10 rows of metal barricades (parallel queues) with each row being 4-feet wide. More than 3,000 pilgrims can be accommodated in the AC pathway at a time. Each row has a bench attached to the metal barricade to enable devotees to sit while waiting in the queues.

"We have not seen such an AC queue management system for devotees at any shrine in the country. This concept was executed following the direction of chief minister Naveen Patnaik and 5T chairman V K Pandian. Adequate police personnel have been deployed to ensure a hassle-free darshan," inspector general of police (central range), Ashish Singh.

The significant transformation came after criticism faced by the Puri administration recently over the poor queue management and darshan system. In October and November, devotees had a harrowing time while standing for hours in queues under a shaded corridor outside the temple.

"We welcome devotees to experience the new system introduced by the state government. Convenience, safety and security of devotees matter a lot to us. The overhead shade earlier made near the Singhadwar (lion’s gate) will be removed. Devotees can now sit comfortably in the AC pathway before entering the shrine for darshan," Puri SP Kanwar Vishal Singh said, adding the administration has also made seating arrangements for 2,000 more devotees at the reception of the temple office near the AC pathway.

Devotees welcomed the new system. "I was pleasantly surprised to witness the transformation in the queue system. It used to be chaotic and painful. Though we do not need ACs in winter, this will benefit devotees a lot in the summer," said Piyush Gupta, a devotee from Delhi.


- Debabrata Mohapatra is an Assistant Editor at The Times of India, Bhubaneswar. He had been writing for TOI from Puri since 2006 before joining the Bhubaneswar bureau in August 2010. He covers crime, law & order and Congress.

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